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The Christian Brothers, officially known as "The Brothers of the Christian Schools," are an order of the Roman Catholic Church who are teachers. The order was founded by a priest, St. John Baptist de la Salle, but its members are not elevated to the priesthood.

St. John Baptist de la Salle was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 and canonized by that same Pontiff in 1900. He started working in education because of a zealous layman, Monsieur Nyel, of Rouen, France, who had already spent a lot of time and money establishing schools. The Abbé de la Salle put together a corps of teachers, and drew up a set of rules for them to live and work by in 1684. At his death in 1719, there were 274 Brothers, educating 9000 pupils in free or inexpensive schools. The society was approved of by Pope Benedict XIII in 1725. It has had off and on success in its founding location of France -- at various times, especially after the French Revolution, the Christian Brothers have been forbidden to be there and the order's property has been confiscated. However, it has spread thoroughout the world; as of 1917 there were more than 17,000 members of the order and 350,000 students in schools run by the order.Currently they run. 1,600 educational institutions in over 80 countries.

Source: The Externals of the Catholic Church: Her government, ceremonies, festivals, sacramentals, and devotions by Right Reverend John F. Sullivan, D.D., of the Diocese of Providence, 1918.

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